Coyotes expect arena plans to be finalized by end of season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Arizona Coyotes are expecting plans for a new permanent home in the state to be finalized by the end of the regular season that will resolve the lease/arena issues that have plagued the team for years.

Although there are still a number of options being discussed, it's believed the most likely scenario is a partnership with Arizona State University with a new arena being built in Tempe.

Commissioner Gary Bettman was given an update on the process before the NHL's board of governors meeting in Nashville on Saturday morning.

Without going into specifics of a potential new home, Bettman said he is optimistic the team will find something in the Phoenix area.

"It certainly looks that way," Bettman told ESPN.com Saturday after addressing the media at the NHL's All Star weekend.

It's expected the deal will be finalized in the next couple of months, certainly before the end of the regular season.

It would take an estimated three years for a new building to be completed, during which time the team would continue to play out of Gila River Arena in Glendale. The team is in the first year of a two-year lease signed before the start of this season after the local municipality opted to break the existing 15-year lease.

"I think it's important for the franchise that they had long-term stability in Glendale, and Glendale chose to move in another direction, but since they seem to have a lot of terrific options in the 11th-largest market in the United States -- they're very optimistic," Bettman said of the Coyotes' ownership group.

At one point it appeared the Coyotes might partner with the NBA's Phoenix Suns on a new building possibly in downtown Phoenix, but that appears unlikely now. A new arena built in the Scottsdale area has also been discussed.

One of the problems with the team's situation in Glendale is that the bulk of the team's fan base is geographically removed from the arena. A new arena in Tempe, Scottsdale or downtown would put the team closer to that fan base.